By Lorraine C. Ladish
Bilingual and bicultural Latina editor, writer, speaker, online influencer and mom. Founder of Viva Fifty! Published author of 18 books. Her forthcoming title Your Best Age will be released by HarperCollins in September of 2017.
On August 25, I turned 55 and I am so grateful that I could cry!
I’m sick of hearing people complain about their age, whether they’re young or older. That just makes me want to celebrate each of my birthdays even more eagerly. Let’s put things in perspective: a couple of months ago, I attended the funeral of a classmate who attended high school with me in Spain. He was one year younger than me.
At least three of my friends of a lifetime, and who are more or less my age, suffer from some type of cancer. I tell you that his biggest concern is not his age. It is living enough to see your children grow. Recently, one of them published in their social networks: “all I want is to grow old “.
Please, enjoy life, let’s celebrate age , period.
If you are older than me, I want you to know that I am fully aware of my youth, although I can already access some discounts for the elderly (I almost fainted when I heard about this) and in the United States I can move to a community for older people of 55 (no, thank you, I love being surrounded by younger people!).
If, on the other hand, you are younger than me and you think that being 55 years old is being OLD, let me tell you that you definitely do not feel that way. I hope you do not feel old when you turn 55. But above all, I hope you reach this age. Actually, I hope you live much more. I also hope to live many more years. My dear grandmother, the woman who raised me , died in July, at 101. If I follow her steps, maybe I still have 46 years to go.
I’ve read other bloggers’ posts about this turning 55 and it might seem that women my age were all full of aches and pains, without energy, wrinkled like lizards and gray hair done a scouring pad (I can not wait for mine to be white completely to leave me the gray hair). It gives the impression that from the 55 we dry and the vagina atrophies us and that this has no remedy. That our professional life comes to an end. And that, in short, the party was over.
This is my personal and subjective opinion on this subject: except in cases of serious illnesses or disabilities, how we see ourselves and feel at 55, 45 or even 75, depends on how we treat ourselves since our youth.
Compare this with something that people tend to take care of a lot: their car. Take two cars of the same year, same make and model. Suppose we take one of these cars regularly to the dealership to have the oil changes and revisions, that we wash and maintain it properly. Imagine also that the other car is only taken to the workshop or we pay attention to it when it breaks down. How do you see and how a car works compared to the other, after 5, 10, 15 years? The same goes for our mind, our body and our spirit.
At 55, I am the sum of everything I did and everything I did not do in my youth. Young people, take note, because I know very well that at 15, 20 and even 30, do not think that lying on the couch all day or abuse of alcohol and drugs will affect your life when you are older. You must know that it will affect you! And if you are older, remember that it is never too late to start taking care of yourself. It is not about how many more years we live and to look great, but about having the best quality of life possible.
Believe me, everything is not rosy in my life, now or ever. In the last year I had a big scare of health: I almost ended up in the operating room to have my colon resected. After months of gastric and stomach discomfort, a doctor finally decided to do a colonoscopy (the second I have had), during which they found and removed a huge precancerous polyp. Fortunately, a specialist surgeon recommended a third colonoscopy to try to eliminate what was left of the polyp, with the intention of avoiding surgery. I will not know if the procedure was successful until, within a few months, I had a fourth colonoscopy. I’m about to get a Ph.D. in colonoscopies! Of course I appreciate that they have detected it in time. So, again, yes, I am more than grateful to be 55 years old.
Every year I do a photo session for my birthday. This year, for the first time, I was surprised. When I saw the numbers in the photos, I thought “wait, when I was younger … I did not imagine that way the 55!”. So yes, I am very grateful to be 55 years old. And especially grateful of how I look and how I feel at my 55. If you follow my stories on Instagram , you will see that I share the good and the bad of life at this age, but I also strive to have a positive attitude because, if not I can laugh at myself now, then, when?
My life is far from finishing at 55: this year I will write a new book book (I think it will be my title number 19). I will also obtain the certification of yoga instructor (I was a fitness instructor in my 20s and 30s) and thus be able to help others to take better care of their body, mind and spirit. I have already launched a new platform, The Flawed Yogini , to share this new journey online. I will continue with my medical checkups and colonoscopies, and, for now, I will continue to dye my gray hair and take my hormone replacement therapy religiously, because, yes, age is more than a number. But what we do and how we feel at any age depends on us!